EU Exit Preparations: Ferry Contracts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Alan Brown Alan Brown Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy) 1:12 pm, 5th March 2019

I agree wholeheartedly. To be fair to the current Transport Secretary, he allowed VTEC, the Virgin-Stagecoach consortium, to walk away owing the taxpayer £2 billion and said that that was not a bail-out. If I let somebody off from owing me £2 billion, it would seem that I had bailed them out. As I touched on earlier, he also has a lot of culpability in the Southern rail franchise and in how the model was set up, and he has been unwilling to get involved in industrial disputes. In fact, in a way he wanted the disputes to continue because of his views on the unions. We had the Northern rail timetable fiasco, where the Government again tried to argue that the taxpayer was not liable, but when Network Rail pays compensation to a franchise holder, that money comes from the taxpayer. All that is in addition to the £800,000 on due diligence and the out-of-court settlement with Eurotunnel. It has been a farce from start to end, but the Transport Secretary is not willing to accept accountability.